TRAI, an acronym for Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, is planning to bring regulation of over-the-top (OTT) platforms that include TV streaming apps like Airtel TV, Sony Liv, and Hotstar with licensing regulations.
The networks are licensed to TRAI Proposes OTT Networks Under TV Streaming Licensing Regulations registered broadcasters who will provide the content to DTH or cable service operators under a provided framework. If not paying the carriage charges and license fee, the TV streaming app will be under the limit of the license or be exempted.
Under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, the broadcasting license is bound for 10 years, where the licensee must be in agreement with the programming and advertising code.
TRAI, in the last month report, states that it is looking to control the regulatory imbalance between OTT applications and the phone companies. RS Sharma, TRAI chairman, has said that at present, it is focusing on the OTT consultation and regulatory issues that connect to the services like WhatsApp, Google, and Facebook.
OTT Regulations in India
In November 2018, TRAI released OTT consultation paper on Regulatory Framework for OTT communication Services. The consultation paper was out for public comments until December 24, 2018. TRAI with the paper, examined the implications of the growth of OTT providers.
Star India, in its submission on the OTT paper, had added that,
“TRAI does not have the authority under the Act (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997) to regulate OTTs. The internet ecosystem, of which OTTs are an integral part, is governed and regulated by the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the rules notified thereunder.”
Not only Star India, Sony, Times Network, and Zee seems to be opposing TRAI’s move that has their own streaming applications.